Monday, 31 October 2011

NaNoWriMo: Are you out of your freakin' mind?

In light of November 1st and the overwhelming slash nail-biting slash just-what-the-f-am-I-doing start of this 30 day marathon of literary abandon, I thought to wrap up a number of blog postings and references which explain and support this personal (read: self-inflicted) challenge.

NaNoWriMo: Write a novel in 1 month?
This is it, the original go for broke 30 day trial.

Assembly Line Writing
Writing in a hurry is stupid? Laughing all the way to the bank?

On Writing by Stephen King
Penned by the master himself, this book is part biography, part technical manual about the craft of writing.

James Patterson
Q: What do you say to critics like author Stephen King who say you are not a great prose stylist?
A: I am not a great prose stylist. I'm a storyteller. There are thousands of people who don't like what I do. Fortunately, there are millions who do.

Holly Lisle
This moment started exactly 25 years ago today, when in my diary I wrote, “Before I turn 25, I want to write a book.” 25 years later, I’ve written 33 novels (plus one I did anonymously as work for hire), am working on a couple more, and intend to keep writing novels as long as I live.

NaNoWriMo: Hopeful or hopeless?
[Some inspirational links and videos]
As flippant as it sounds, I'm getting the idea that success is tied up in the slogan from Nike: Just do it! No quibbling, no discussion, no angst about your inner struggle. Just do it. Or maybe in some cases, it needs a little emphasis: Just f**king do it.

NaNoWriMo and an inspiring author: Dean Wesley Smith
I "discovered" this gentleman back in March and found him to be a prolific, disciplined craftsman. It seemed appropriate to reprint the article as a run-up to the month of November when many give themselves the personal challenge of doing the unthinkable: write 50,000 words in 30 days.

November: It was a dark and stormy night...
The perfect opening line for one of the duller months of the year: 30 days of somberness between the sparkling heat of summer and the snowy cold of winter. Charles M. Schulz hasn't been with us since 2000 and even though his comic strip Peanuts is still republished, is the next generation familiar with these words? I am dating myself by the number of times I have seen Snoopy the writer on top of his doghouse pounding out that opening line on his typewriter in mock homage to Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton PC. November? Snoopy? Bulwer-Lytton? Is everybody confused by this mishmash of seemingly random ideas?


Uploaded by lettersandlightvideo on Oct 25, 2011
What is the Office of Letters and Light?



Other stuff

Writing: November Challenges
Some of the various things you can do in the month of November.

Amanda Hocking: indie author goes viral

Kindle E-books Overtake Paper Books

Writing: Stories in tweets

Dean Wesley Smith: Dean of Star Trek

Gay male romance for women

authonomy.com: maybe this doesn't help writers

Book Trailers

Writing: Stories in tweets


Blogging

NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month
Yep, the trial of blogging.

Writing: Less is more: the drabble
Flash fiction? Ficly? Drabble? 55 fiction? Brevity is art!

Blogging: Just another drop in the bucket

Blogging: Using Google as a research tool

Blogging: Does crossposting increase traffic?

Writing for Blogging for Money for a Living

One Million Words

2011-10-31

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Peter Gabriel: The Book of Love


The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing but

I...
I love it when you read to me and
You...
You can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb but

I...
I love it when you sing to me and
You...
You can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know but

I...
I love it when you give me things and
You...
You ought to give me wedding rings
I...
I love it when you give me things and
You...
You ought to give me wedding rings


References

Uploaded by sakuramiyu777 on Feb 14, 2009

Wikipedia: Scratch My Back
Scratch My Back is the eighth studio album (and fifteenth album overall) by the English musician Peter Gabriel, his first in eight years. It was released on 12 February 2010 in Australia and Germany, on 15 February in the UK and on 2 March in the U.S. The album, recorded at Air Lyndhurst and Real World Studios during 2009, consists of cover versions of twelve songs by various artists, using only orchestra and voice. It is produced by Gabriel himself with Bob Ezrin.

Stephin Merritt, who wrote "The Book of Love", commented on Gabriel's cover of his song:

At first I thought, "How hilarious, he’s got a completely different take on the song." But after a few listens I find it quite sweet. My version of the song focuses on the humour, and his focuses on the pathos. Of course, if I could sing like him I wouldn’t have to be a humourist.

Gabriel's cover of "The Book of Love" appeared earlier in the 2004 film Shall We Dance?, and on the ABC series Scrubs in the season 8 finale entitled My Finale.

my blog: Marriage: Having our lives witnessed
[I talk about the movie Shall We Dance? whose romantic finale has our married couple renewing their love to this song. The following conversation is a telling description of marriage.]

Beverley: All these promises that we make and we break. Why is it, do you think, that people get married?

Detective: Passion.

Beverley: No.

Detective: Interesting because I would have taken you for a romantic. Why then?

Beverley: Because we need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet. I mean what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything: the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things. All of it, all the time, everyday. You're saying your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.

2011-10-30

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Keep Wall Street Occupied by Artie Moffa (video)


Here's the idea for supporting the Occupy Wall Street protests all from the comfort of your own home. The next time you receive a credit card application from a bank, send back the return envelope... empty. The bank will have to pay the postage. Fill the envelope with paper to increase its weight and thus increase the cost of postage. Include a message of protest. To really increase the weight, include a piece of wood. Put a message of protest on the piece of wood.

Now individually, this act of defiance won't do very much. But if hundreds or thousands do it, somebody at the bank is going to notice. As this gentleman says, if the banks are taking the time to deal with this, they may just spend less time lobbying government about more ways to screw us.

This guy had such an interesting and unique idea, I just had to post his video. What he says makes perfect sense. Would it work? I don't know but I'd like to think so. Now if Stephen Colbert would announce this on his show, I'd bet a zillion people would immediately do it and then we would certainly see a reaction from somebody at the banks.

In the meantime, pass around this video and do your part to, ah, bring to the attention to the banks that Occupy Wall Street is a cause with a reason.

References

ABC News - Oct 28/2011
Video Suggests Another Approach to Occupying Wall Street – Send Them Garbage
Artie Moffa wanted to occupy Wall Street, but his day job was getting in the way. Instead, the San Franciscan poet and SAT tutor devised a way he could keep Wall Street occupied from the comfort of his home and office.

2011-10-29

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Movie Review: Ra.One

Bollywood, the name evokes singing and dancing, large choreographed pieces, love and romance but never any actual kissing. Now let's add science fiction to that list with special effects galore and 3D and a mention that this movie now holds the record for the most expensive Bollywood film ever made. There are a lot of good points to this cinematic endeavour and there are a number of not so good points which explains why the critics have been giving mixed reviews.

Let's start with a not so good point. Anubhav Sinha who both wrote the story and directed the movie must have had a target audience of kids in mind. The whole idea centers on a computer game and the characters in the game crossing over into real life. Sorry, this is where I roll my eyes. Tron Legacy tried to thrill me with its computer generated world but the story was so juvenile, it just didn't capture my imagination like, for instance, The Matrix. Ra.One has the same problem. Maybe if I was a fourteen year old kid I may have been enthralled with this gaming stuff translated in live characters. Unfortunately, I'm not 14 years old. Some may say I'm just being an old fuddy duddy but you have to have a little more meat to your story than what Mr. Sinha has come up with. Then again, I wasn't too thrilled with Transformers but I can see those who went nuts for that movie would find this story captivating.

Shahrukh Khan is quite versatile and this film affords him an opportunity to show all his talents. I can see why he has been given the much deserved moniker of The King of Bollywood. While he does a great job of playing the handsome hero kicking butt, he is very, very amusing playing the more goofy game developer. He is so goofy; I found it hard to believe his wife turns out to be the beautiful Kareena Kapoor. However, at a party when the Akon song Criminal starts playing, Mr. Goofy turns into a surprisingly charming dancer. That's when I realised why Kareena Kapoor would have fallen for him.

Speaking of Akon, later in the film we have the choreographed scene with the Akon song Chammak Challo. These big dance numbers are the hallmark of Bollywood films and this film doesn't disappoint in that regard even though it is technically a science fiction movie. I've included the videos for Criminal and Chammak Challo below as I greatly enjoyed them.

I went expecting the film to be in Hindi with subtitles. I was surprised at how much of it was in English. What? I'm still wondering if English crops up that much in everyday speech or if the film maker added the English with an eye on an international market. A couple of scenes where somebody was talking about computer technology and threw in the occasional English technical term was anticipated but then somebody would throw in an entire English expression or just switch to English altogether. What? I'm confused.


Final Word
For me, the premise of the story, characters from a computer game coming to life, just doesn't cut it. If you're a teenager, you may go for it but if you're an adult, you are going to find this sadly lacking. Nevertheless, the special effects were at times interesting and the love story between Khan and Kapoor showed promise. I am always amused by the unwritten Bollywood rule of no kissing in scenes of romance. Yes, there's no kissing but there is still that tension between the players. It is quite different from an American film.

Shahrukh Khan is excellent but my recommendation is to wait until the film comes out on DVD or ends up on television.


References

Rotten Tomatoes: Ra.One: 78%

Wikipedia: Ra.One
Ra.One (Random Access–Version 1.0) is a 2011 Indian science fiction superhero film, written and directed by Anubhav Sinha. The film, which features Shahrukh Khan in dual roles, as a game developer and his superhero look-alike G.One, also stars Kareena Kapoor, Armaan Verma and Arjun Rampal as the titular game villain Ra.One.

official movie web site: Ra.One

Wikipedia: Akon
Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam, better known as simply Akon (born April 16, 1973), is a Senegalese American R&B recording artist and songwriter.

Uploaded by RaOneMovie on Aug 30, 2011
Chammak Challo Official Song Sung by Akon

The meaning of Chammak Challo
The word Chhammakchhallo (Spelt chammak challo also) is used for a girl who is flashy in appearance. The word can be called part of slang, and can be derogatory as well, though it's not a swear word. Exactly, chhammak here refers to the sound of jingling as someone walks, and chhallo was most probably used for chhallas (chhalla = a ring, not necessarily the one worn in a finger) and hence chhammakchhallo was used for someone who used to make a jingling sound with her jewels.

The lyrics to Chammak Challo
Girl you are my chammak challo.
Where you go girl, I'm gonna follow.
What you want girl just let me know.
Girl be my chammak challo.


Shawty I'm gonna get ya.
You know I'm gonna get ya.
You know I will even let you be my chammak challo.


Kaisa sharmaana aaja nach ke dikha de.
Aa meri hove aaja parda gira de.
Aa meri akhiyon se akhiyan mila le.
Ab tu na nakhre dikha...


Uploaded by tseries on Sep 23, 2011
"Criminal Ra One" (video song) ShahRukh Khan,Kareena Kapoor

2011-10-29

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Small Faces: Itchycoo Park


Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green
Under dreamin' spires
To Itchycoo Park, that's where I've been

What did you do there?
I got high
What did you feel there?
Well I cried
But why the tears there?
I'll tell you why
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be niceand have fun in the sun

Tell you what I'll do (what will you do?)
I'd like to go there now with you
You can miss out school (won't that be cool)
Why go to learn the words of fools?
What will we do there?
We'll get high
What will we touch there?
We'll touch the sky
But why the tears then?
I'll tell you why

It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful

I feel inclined to blow my mind
Get hung up feed the ducks with a bun
They all come out to groove about
Be nice and have fun in the sun

It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
It's all too beautiful
Ha! It's all too beautiful


References

Uploaded on Nov 8, 2009 by Emma0815007

Wikipedia: Itchycoo Park
"Itchycoo Park" is a psychedelic pop song written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, first recorded by their group, the Small Faces. The song reached number three in the UK Singles Chart, 1967. ... The song reached number 16 in the American Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. ... Long running British music magazine NME cites readers poll voting "Itchycoo Park" number 62 out of the top 100 singles of all time. ... The song was one of the first to use flanging, which can be heard in the break after each chorus.

Wikipedia: Flanging
Flanging (pronounced "flan-jing") is an audio effect produced by mixing two identical signals together, with one signal delayed by a small and gradually changing period, usually smaller than 20 milliseconds. This produces a swept comb filter effect: peaks and notches are produced in the resultant frequency spectrum, related to each other in a linear harmonic series. Varying the time delay causes these to sweep up and down the frequency spectrum. A flanger is an effects unit dedicated to creating this sound effect.

Wikipedia: Small Faces
The Small Faces were an English rock and roll band from East London, heavily influenced by American rhythm and blues. The group was founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, although by 1966 Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan as the band's keyboardist.

The band is remembered as one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s. With memorable hit songs such as "Itchycoo Park", "Lazy Sunday", "All or Nothing", "Tin Soldier", and their concept album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, they later evolved into one of the UK's most successful psychedelic acts before disbanding in 1969. After the Small Faces disbanded, three of the members were joined by Ronnie Wood as guitarist, and Rod Stewart as their lead vocalist, both from The Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed Faces. A revived version of the original Small Faces existed from 1975 to 1978.

2011-10-26

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Monday, 24 October 2011

The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset


Dirty old river, must you keep rolling
Flowing into the night
People so busy, makes me feel dizzy
Taxi light shines so bright
But I don't need no friends
As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is evening time
Waterloo sunset's fine

Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station
Every Friday night
But I am so lazy, don't want to wander
I stay at home at night
But I don't feel afraid
As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset
I am in paradise

Every day I look at the world from my window
But chilly, chilly is evening time
Waterloo sunset's fine

Millions of people swarming like flies 'round Waterloo underground
But Terry and Julie cross over the river
Where they feel safe and sound
And they don't need no friends
As long as they gaze on Waterloo sunset
They are in paradise

Waterloo sunset's fine


References

Uploaded by SixtiesPopGold on May 30, 2010

Wikipedia: Waterloo Sunset
"Waterloo Sunset" is a song by British rock band The Kinks. It was released as a single in 1967, and featured on their album Something Else by The Kinks. Composed and produced by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, "Waterloo Sunset" is one of the band's best known and most acclaimed songs.

Legacy and accolades
A London FM radio poll in 2004 named this the "Greatest Song About London", while Time Out named it the "Anthem of London". It holds spot #42 Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Paul Weller and Damon Albarn cite the song as their favourite of all-time. Pitchfork Media named it the 29th best song of the 1960s.


Wikipedia: Something Else by The Kinks
Something Else by The Kinks, often referred to as just Something Else, is the fifth UK studio album by English rock group The Kinks, released in September 1967... In 2003, the album was ranked number 288 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Wikipedia: The Kinks
The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in 1964. Categorised in the United States as a British Invasion band, The Kinks are recognised as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era.

2011-10-24

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

My Rocky Horror Birthday

It's your birthday and what could somebody do to celebrate it in an out of the ordinary manner worthy of Monty Python's famous "And now for something completely different"? How about a small dinner theatre which seats a maximum of 88 people and an amateur troop's fourth annual presentation of a 1973 cult classic whose protagonist is a transvestite? Yep, I think that fits the bill quite nicely.

I'm sure the younger crowd may think of old me (I prefer older me) in somewhat uncomplimentary terms like staid, middle of the road if not conservative and bordering on the era of age related discounts. Do I hear the vernacular for elderly intestinal gas as in "old fart"? Hey, Saturday night I was dancing up a storm with the cast and 80% of the audience (there are always party poopers who refuse to join in) and singing at the top of my lungs "Let's do the Time Warp again!"

I have never seen a stage production of the show. I, like zillions of people, saw the 1975 movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was a good thing I did a little quickie refresher with Google because I had totally forgotten about the audience participation aspect of it. When I saw the movie back in 1978, I was amused to discover how the audience was yelling out the lines of dialogue while whipping various items at the screen at the appropriate moment. Confetti, rice, even toast, there were all sorts of fan chosen things which in some way matched up to the story. No wonder the movie and subsequent theatre productions were not so much shows as events. I remember that one "underground" movie theatre would show the movie at midnight on the Saturday closest to Hallowe'en and the crowd would go wild. Heavens only knows how long it took the establishment to clean up the mess after it was all said and done.

For my "birthday event", the theatre encouraged members of the audience to come dressed up as their favourite character. Hats off to the one guy who came sort of dressed up as a transvestite. Okay no garter belt and stockings but he did have panty hose, hot pants and a bustier. You are a better man than I, Gunga Din.

Theatre rules restricted what you could throw. Out of fear of the actors slipping and falling, things like toast, hotdogs and water pistols were banned. If you see the movie, anything seems to be permitted. In the lobby, those who were unprepared, like yours truly, could buy participation bags. Enclosed in a baggie, you got various items like confetti, newspaper, rubber glove (don't ask), noise maker, glow stick and a playing card. Complete instructions put you in the know of just when in the production you were supposed to haul out what item. Then again, there were enough experienced people to just follow suit.

Participation
(Wikipedia) Live theater differs from the showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which some items that could be harmful to the actors are not allowed. Items such as rice that could cause a "slip and fall" have been banned from many theaters. Because of this, and the desire to create additional forms of revenue, live theaters sell what are called "audience participation bags".
...
During performances, the audience has been encouraged to join in with the performance. Items most commonly taken are:


* Toast – Thrown during the dinner scene.
* Bounty Bars – Thrown on the line with “Paradise” in it
* Newspaper – When Janet covers her head with one in the rain.
* Rubber Gloves – To be snapped in time with Frank N. Furter during the creation scene.
* Kit Kats – Thrown on the line “You get a break”
* Rice – Thrown during the wedding scene at the start
* Party Poppers, Hat, Blower – Used during the dinner/happy birthday scene and the creation scene.
* Water pistols – Used to help simulate the storm in which Brad and Janet are caught.
* Flashlights – Used to light up the room during the "there's a light" verse of "Over at the Frankenstein Place."
* Toilet Paper – Thrown upon Doctor Scott's entrance when Brad exclaims "Great Scott!"
* Confetti – Thrown onstage at the end of the “Charles Atlas Song” Reprise.
* Playing Cards – Thrown during the line “cards for sorrow, cards for pain.”
* Hot Dogs - Thrown during the line "You're a hot-dog and you better not try to hurt her .....Frank Furter."


In recent years, this has been discouraged by theatres due to the safety implications of debris and water on the stage.

Published on Apr 13, 2012 by MOMENTI RIDERE
Time Warp (Official Video) Rocky Horror Picture Show (with subtitles in Spanish? Ha ha)


It's astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I've got to keep control

I remember doing the Time Warp
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me and the void would be calling
Let's do the time warp again...
Let's do the time warp again!

It's just a jump to the left
And then a step to the right
With your hands on your hips
You bring your knees in tight
But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!

It's so dreamy, oh fantasy free me
So you can't see me, no not at all
In another dimension, with voyeuristic intention
Well-secluded, I see all
With a bit of a mind flip
You're there in the time slip
And nothing can ever be the same
You're spaced out on sensation, like you're under sedation
Let's do the Time Warp again!

Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think
When a snake of a guy gave me an evil wink
He shook me up, he took me by surprise
He had a pickup truck and the devil's eyes.
He stared at me and I felt a change
Time meant nothing, never would again
Let's do the Time Warp again!

Final Word
It's just a jump to the left. If you are standing up participating, then it's a step to the right. And yes that pelvic thrust really does drive you insane. Would the original author Richard O'Brien have imagined in 1973 that his little opus would turn into a classic and still be going strong nearly forty years later? Holy cow.

This was all great fun and an original way to spend one's birthday. In reflecting back on it all, I would say that yes indeed, this does rate "And now for something completely different".


References

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Show
The Rocky Horror Show is a long-running British horror comedy stage musical, which opened in London on 19 June 1973. It was written by English-born New Zealander Richard O'Brien, and developed by O'Brien in collaboration with Australian theater director Jim Sharman. It came eighth in a BBC Radio 2 listener poll of the "Nation's Number One Essential Musicals".

The play was adapted as the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult film and the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the 1975 film adaptation of the British rock musical stageplay, The Rocky Horror Show, written by Richard O'Brien. The film is a parody of B-movie, science fiction and horror films of the late 1940s through early 1970s. Director Jim Sharman collaborated on the screenplay with O'Brien, who wrote both the book and lyrics for the stage. The film introduces Tim Curry and features Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick along with cast members from the original Kings Road production presented at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1973.

Still in limited release 36 years after its premiere, it has the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It gained notoriety as a midnight movie in 1977 when audiences began participating with the film in theatres. Rocky Horror is the first film from a major Hollywood studio to be in the midnight movie market. The motion picture has a large international cult following and is one of the most well known and financially successful midnight movies of all time. In 2005, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Wikipedia: The Rocky Horror Glee Show
"The Rocky Horror Glee Show" is the fifth episode of the second season of the American television series Glee, and the 27th episode overall. It was written by Ryan Murphy, from a story by Murphy and Tim Wollaston, directed by Adam Shankman, and premiered on Fox on October 26, 2010. The episode features the glee club paying tribute to the 1973 musical The Rocky Horror Show, with elements of its 1975 film adaptation The Rocky Horror Picture Show, by staging it as a school musical.

2011-10-23

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Saturday, 22 October 2011

David Bowie: The Hearts Filthy Lesson


Heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson

There's always the diamond friendly
Sitting in the Laugh Hotel
The heart's filthy lesson
With her hundred miles to hell

Oh, Ramona, if there was only something between us
If there was only something between us
Other than our clothes
Something in our skies
Something in our skies
Something in our blood
Something in our skies

Paddy
Paddy, who's been wearing Miranda's clothes?

It's the heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson
Falls upon deaf ears
It's the heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson
Heart's filthy lesson
Falls upon deaf ears
Falls upon dead years

Oh Ramona, if there was only some kind of future
Oh Ramona, if there was only some kind of future
And these cerulean skies

Something in our skies
Something in our skies
Something in our blood
Something in our skies

Paddy, Paddy?
Paddy, oh, Paddy, I think I've lost my way
I'm already five years older
I'm already in my grave
I'm already
I'm already
I'm already
Will you carry me?
Oh Paddy, I think I've lost my way

Paddy
What a fantastic death abyss
Paddy
What a fantastic death abyss
It's the hearts filthy lesson
Tell the others
It's the hearts filthy lesson
What a fantastic death abyss
Tell the others
It's the hearts filthy lesson
Paddy
What a fantastic death abyss
It's the hearts filthy lesson
Tell the other

References

Uploaded by Madlight07 on Apr 2, 2009

Wikipedia: The Hearts Filthy Lesson
"The Hearts Filthy Lesson" is a song by David Bowie, from his 1995 album Outside, and issued as a single ahead of the album. It showcased Bowie's new, industrial-influenced sound. The lack of an apostrophe in the title is deliberate. Lyrically, the single connects with the rest of the album, with Bowie offering a lament to "tyrannical futurist" Ramona A. Stone, a theme continued in subsequent songs.

"The Hearts Filthy Lesson" had its cult status sealed when it was featured over the closing titles of David Fincher's 1995 film Seven, a film which mirrored the video's grimy visuals.

Wikipedia: Outside (David Bowie album)
Outside is a concept album first released 26 September 1995 by David Bowie on Virgin Records, and his "highly anticipated" reunion with Brian Eno, whom Bowie had worked with, most famously on his Berlin Trilogy. Subtitled "the Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle," Outside centres around the characters of a dystopian world on the eve of the 21st century. The album put Bowie back into the mainstream scene of rock music with its singles "The Hearts Filthy Lesson", "Strangers When We Meet", and "Hallo Spaceboy" (notably remixed by the Pet Shop Boys). Although initial critical reception was mixed, this album has grown in stature over the years and is now considered by many to be underrated.

Wikipedia: David Bowie
David Bowie (born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947) is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s, and is known for his distinctive voice as well as the originality and considerable eclecticism of his work.

Wikipedia: Seven (film)
Seven (stylized in some publications as Se7en) is a 1995 American thriller film, which also contains horror and neo-noir elements, directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It was distributed by New Line Cinema and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey and Kevin Spacey.

David Mills (Pitt) and William Somerset (Freeman) are police detectives working in a crime-filled city, who become deeply involved in a case involving a series of sadistic murders. Each murder corresponds to one of the seven deadly sins: gluttony, envy, lust, pride, sloth, greed and wrath.

Filming took place in Los Angeles, California. The film was released in the United States on September 22, 1995. Grossing $327 million at the box office internationally, Seven was a commercial success, and received very positive reviews from most critics.

2011-10-22

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Friday, 21 October 2011

NaNoWriMo: Hopeful or hopeless?

Start on November 1st and finish on November 30th. 30 days. 50,000 words. On average 1,667 words per day. Some say that represents 1 to 2 hours worth of work each day. Doable? Crazy?

Started in 1999 in San Francisco by one Chris Baty and a group of his friends, 21 people participated and six people "won", that is, they managed to write 50,000 words. In 2010, 200,530 people signed up and 37,479 people "won". (see my blog: NaNoWriMo: Write a novel in 1 month?)

NaNoWriMo - Crash Course for Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Some helpful points about this epic challenge including the rules, ideas about what to do, pep talks and the following video.

NaNoWriMo Success: How to Write a Novel in 30 Days
A How To guide with resources from 2007 but still applicable today. Under the section "Planning Methods", I see "Seat of Your Pants":

Start with a nugget of an idea and just start writing. Many people write this way. Some even find success in this method. This keeps things interesting for the author. On the other hand writers often find frustration with this method because of the need to go back and rewrite large passages when the story line needs to change halfway through the book. Planning doesn’t eliminate this problem completely, but it certainly happens less when you do some planning.

Is it too late to do at least a little planning? As of this writing, there is just a little over a week to go.


How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method
Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. That's just life. If it were easy, we'd all be writing best-selling, prize-winning fiction.

Frankly, there are a thousand different people out there who can tell you how to write a novel. There are a thousand different methods. The best one for you is the one that works for you.

In this article, I'd like to share with you what works for me. I've published six novels and won about a dozen awards for my writing. I teach the craft of writing fiction at writing conferences all the time. One of my most popular lectures is this one: How to write a novel using what I call the "Snowflake Method."


Uploaded by hayleyghoover on Oct 28, 2009
5 Reasons-o to NaNoWriMo



Writing: Dean Wesley Smith: Dean of Star Trek
Smith brings out a little math to point out how slow and steady wins the race. His simple example is writing 250 words or one page a day. At the end of a year, you would have slightly over 90,000 words, about a normal paperback book. Of course, this doesn't take into account rewrites, but I think the point is made. Setting the goal of writing a book seems daunting, but setting the goal of writing 250 words seems quite doable. Slow and steady indeed. Especially steady.

In a blog elsewhere, Smith gave a further example of breaking the process down using math. Starting with the idea that a professional writer can do a thousand words in an hour or 4 pages, a 90,000 word novel represents 90 hours worth of work. Divide by 3 weeks to give 30 hours per week then divide by 7 days to give four and a half hours per day or 4,500 words per day. Is it at this point I slap my forehead saying, "Gee, it's that simple?" I have to point out not just the discipline but the ability to continuously "create". Repetitive work can sometimes be just shutting the brain off and letting the body repeat what it's doing. Sitting there trying to punch out something new? Thinking for the purposes of creating something can be tough.

I distinctly remember Stephen King's admission about this in his book On Writing. He apparently sets himself the goal of doing 2,000 words per day. This is less than Smith's last example but I remember King saying it takes him months to do a book, never mind the rewrites. But whatever the pace, both authors seem to underline the importance of steady. Slow and steady or fast and steady; the common word is steady. National Novel Writing Month (see NaNoWritMo: Write a novel in 1 month?) sets out the personal challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in November, a period of 30 days. That works out to be 1,667 words per day for 30 days in a row. Maybe that isn't quite so intimidating.


Uploaded by thecreativepenn on Oct 28, 2010
New World of Publishing and Making Money as a Fiction Author with Dean Wesley Smith
In this interview excerpt, bestselling author of over 90 novels, Dean Wesley Smith explains the new world of publishing, a different way for authors to submit to publishing houses, and how fiction authors can make a lot of money with "the magic bakery". The full interview is available as a podcast from http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/



"In skating over thin ice, safety is in our speed."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


TerribleMinds - Oct 4/2011
25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo
Among the many nuggets of wisedom presented sometimes with a comedic slant, the author points out two other important months of the year. October is NaStoPlaMo, National Story Planning Month and December is NaEdYoShiMo, National Edit Your Shit Month.


A Round of Words in 80 Days
"ROW80" is a different kind of challenge. There 4 rounds per year of days. You set yourself a goal and stick to it. The goal can be anything but you have to stick to it. You post on this site. You check in twice a week and update your status. The important point? You stick to your goal. Hmmm, isn't that the problem for anyone? You either don't set a goal so there's nothing to shoot for or you set a goal then don't bother to stick to it.


Write Something, You Miserable Fuck
This alternative to NaNoWriMo sets a more modest goal. Never mind whether it works or not, you have to admit the title of the site is hilarious. Take that, you procrastinator!

The following is taken from their About page:

Write Something, You Miserable Fuck is a writing group for underachievers who enjoy the company of same. To join, all you need to do is commit to writing (original fic, fanfic, to do lists, your thesis, your memoirs - anything!) for at least ten minutes each day for the entire month of November. And you are permitted - encouraged even! - to complain bitterly about every single word.

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
-Gene Fowler

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.
-William Gibson

When I write, I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.
-Kurt Vonnegut

Writing is like having about twenty boxes of Christmas decorations. But no tree. You're going, Where do I put this? Then they go, Okay, you can have a tree, but we'll blindfold you and you gotta cut it down with a spoon.
Carolyn Chute

It's 2011 and [info]wrisomifu is coming back! the comm will be opening for new members from 28-31 october. sign-up links will be posted here, so check back.


Final Word
As flippant as it sounds, I'm getting the idea that success is tied up in the slogan from Nike: Just do it! No quibbling, no discussion, no angst about your inner struggle. Just do it. Or maybe in some cases, it needs a little emphasis: Just f**king do it.

I am reading the book "No Plot? No Problem!" by Chris Baty. (A low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days) It is both funny and inspirational. If you haven't read it, get it immediately if not sooner and devour it. You still have time. (see below for link to Amazon)

I have also downloaded a free ebook "NaNo for the New and the Insane" by Lazette Gifford (link below) containing posting from her blog about her experiences with this annual challenge. This person is a professional author so it's an interesting perspective on something you normally associate with the neophyte.

Do or do not... there is no try.
-Yoda from Star Wars


References

NaNoWriMo on Twitter

NaNoWriMo on Facebook

NaNoWriMo: Facebook group

Wikipedia: Gene Fowler
Gene Fowler (born Eugene Devlan) (March 8, 1890 – July 2, 1960) was an American journalist, author and dramatist.

Gene Fowler: Memorable Quotes
"Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."

"The best way to become a successful writer is to read good writing, remember it, and then forget where you remember it from."

Amazon
No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
Chris Baty, motivator extraordinaire and instigator of a wildly successful writing revolution, spells out the secrets of writing and finishing a novel. ... Baty puts pen to paper himself to share the secrets of success. With week-specific overviews, pep "talks," and essential survival tips for today's word warriors, this results-oriented, quick-fix strategy is perfect for people who want to nurture their inner artist and then hit print! Anecdotes and success stories from NaNoWriMo winners will inspire writers from the heralding you-can-do-it trumpet blasts of day one to the champagne toasts of day thirty.

Smashwords
NaNo for the New and the Insane: (free) Ebook By Lazette Gifford
NaNo for the New and the Insane is a short work dedicated to helping people stay on track for the month long NaNoWriMo event in November of each year. Originally written in 2006, this updated version has several new sections plus edited material on self-publishing and more.



2011-10-21

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Occupy Wall Street

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In 2008, the world suffered the greatest financial crisis since the Great Crash of 1929. Those in charge were responsible for setting out the conditions which permitted this to happen. Those same people see no correlation between their actions or in some case their lack of action and the catastrophe which befell the planet. The continued denial of reality and the rationalisation of the obvious lead anyone to believe that things need a lot of work before things get better. The on-going blindness of the Republicans to the antecedents of our current predicament and the thorough and complete inability of the Conservatives to grasp how the world works scares me to no end.

Over and over again, I have heard Republican politicians say that 50% of Americans don't pay taxes. What they don't say is that those 50% are so poor; their marginal tax rate is zero. What they don't say is that those 50% only own 2.5% of the wealth in the United States. What they don't say is that 10% of the population own 80% of all the wealth. These Republican politicians are either lying or they are very, very stupid. Either way, do you want to vote for somebody who persists in a course of action that not only caused the current problems but will just make things worse?

Capitalism is good. Let's all make money. Greed is good. It motivates us to work hard. However, unchecked greed is dangerous in that greedy individuals will step all over the little people. Anybody saying that government regulations are bad? Regulations would have stopped this mess from happening. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The government enacts a law requiring us all to drive at 60 mph. The idea is that this speed is a safe compromise. But, but, but I want you to note that the government is not telling you where to drive; it is only telling you how fast to drive there. That is government regulation.

Nobody wants to take down capitalism. Nobody wants to remove "greed", our motivation. But, we do need checks and balances; we do need regulations to stop everybody from going nuts. Drive anywhere you like but drive at 60 mph not at 100 mph. It's just common sense. It's just safe. Period.

Calvin and Hobbbes explain Occupy Wall Street
This comic comes from twenty years ago so it's obvious our current problems stem from something inherent in the system (Red Green and Blue - Oct 13/2011). Click on the image to see a larger version of the comic.

Signs from Occupy Wall Street: Some of these are just hilarious. (AcidCow.com)

Wall Street: America's Largest Casino Since 1914

If only the war of poverty was a real war then we would actually be putting money in it.

I'm so angry I made a sign

My arms are tired

I shaved my balls for this!?

Bring Back Crystal Pepsi!

This space left intentionally blank

I won't believe corporations are people until Texas executes one.

Obama is not a brown-skinned anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare... You're thinking of Jesus.

I can't afford a lobbyist. I am the 99%.


If I can pay, the rich can pay
According to Forbes, Mr. Warren E. Buffett, age 80, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, investor extraordinaire, is worth fifty billion dollars and ranked the third wealthiest man on the planet, number two in the United States. In the New York Times dated August 14, 2011, Mr. Buffett has penned an article in The Opinion Pages called "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich". He starts out by making this statement:

Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched. Read more...



All the rich are not billionaires
The Daily Show - Aug 18/2011
Granted, this television show is a comedy show. But as the host Jon Stewart likes to say himself by leaning into the camera, "We don't have make a joke here. We're not making this up." because the story itself is so absurd, it defies belief.

In the August 18th episode, Mr. Stewart talks about the "uneccentric" billionaire Warren Buffett and his op-ed piece in the New York Times "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" where he states that he and his other mega-rich friends have been coddled long enough and should be paying their fair share in taxes. In a clip of Buffett, he makes the statement that his tax rate is less than his cleaning lady. Read more...



empathy (n): The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Being part of the 1% but understanding the 99%

lucky (adj): being part of the 1%

fairness (n): Making sure the 99% have the same opportunities of the 1%. That isn’t socialism; it’s just fair.

2011-10-20

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

NaNoWriMo and an inspiring author: Dean Wesley Smith

I "discovered" this gentleman back in March and found him to be a prolific, disciplined craftsman. It seemed appropriate to reprint the article as a run-up to the month of November when many give themselves the personal challenge of doing the unthinkable: write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Name not familiar? No bells ringing? Just who the heck is Dean Wesley Smith? This is a reminder that the world is a big place; there's a lot going on and the view from my window doesn't go much further than the end of my backyard.

Mr. Smith has written over 90 novels and in excess of 100 short stories. Known mainly as a science fiction writer, he has penned works for well known licensed properties such as Star Trek, Smallville, Spider-Man, X-Men, Aliens, Roswell, Men In Black, and Quantum Leap plus created original novels, such as The Tenth Planet series. Best known for his Star Trek novels, he has covered all five of the television series: the original series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. On his web site, he states that he has been making a living writing fiction for 20 years.

Is there any doubt this guy knows what he doing? This is a professional writer.


Explaining his craft: Killing The Sacred Cows of Publishing
On Smith's own web site, he gives us all a sneak peek at a new nonfiction book he is currently working on, called "Killing The Sacred Cows of Publishing". This is an interesting approach to putting a book together as he is creating the individual chapters as essays about his experiences in writing including the process of writing, working with agents, publishing, marketing, etc., that is, all aspects of becoming a published author from dream to reality. He states that his goal is to dispel the myths about writing and I can see that for anybody wanting further information about writing, this guy knows what he's doing.

As an aside, I couldn't help thinking of Stephen King's book On Writing. That was his opus dedicated to the craft and it was the master telling all of us what he's done over the years to make it work. And I think we can all agree that it does indeed work.

Chapter: Speed
For anybody plunking away at a snail's pace, for anybody overwhelmed by the seemingly gigantesque task of writing "a book", Mr. Smith clears the air of several myths while hauling out some basic math to make his case. Myth: writing slow equals writing well, or writing fast equals writing poorly. In setting aside this falsehood, he states his position that "no writer is the same and no project is the same" and goes on to say that "the quality of the final product has no relationship to the speed, method, or feeling of the writer while writing." Is this a telling statement or what? I'm sure anybody would be looking for some clear set of instructions, a demonstrable series of procedures with rules and guidelines when in reality, when it comes to creativity - or we could argue that it is a "craft"- there is no wrong or right way. At the end of the day, what counts are the results.

Smith brings out a little math to point out how slow and steady wins the race. His simple example is writing 250 words or one page a day. At the end of a year, you would have slightly over 90,000 words, about a normal paperback book. Of course, this doesn't take into account rewrites, but I think the point is made. Setting the goal of writing a book seems daunting, but setting the goal of writing 250 words seems quite doable. Slow and steady indeed. Especially steady.

In a blog elsewhere, Smith gave a further example of breaking the process down using math. Starting with the idea that a professional writer can do a thousand words in an hour or 4 pages, a 90,000 word novel represents 90 hours worth of work. Divide by 3 weeks to give 30 hours per week then divide by 7 days to give four and a half hours per day or 4,500 words per day. Is it at this point I slap my forehead saying, "Gee, it's that simple?" I have to point out not just the discipline but the ability to continuously "create". Repetitive work can sometimes be just shutting the brain off and letting the body repeat what it's doing. Sitting there trying to punch out something new? Thinking for the purposes of creating something can be tough.

I distinctly remember Stephen King's admission about this in his book On Writing. He apparently sets himself the goal of doing 2,000 words per day. This is less than Smith's last example but I remember King saying it takes him months to do a book, never mind the rewrites. But whatever the pace, both authors seem to underline the importance of steady. Slow and steady or fast and steady; the common word is steady. National Novel Writing Month (see NaNoWritMo: Write a novel in 1 month?) sets out the personal challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in November, a period of 30 days. That works out to be 1,667 words per day for 30 days in a row. Maybe that isn't quite so intimidating.

Chapter: Only 300 Writers Make a Living
In a nutshell, Smith's essay proves that the myth of only a small number of writers make a living by writing is completely unfounded. Once again, Smith goes beyond his opinion to offer up some numbers which more than prove his stance. He cites a report on book publishing from 2009 stating that over 76,000 new titles were released by normal publishers. This equates to over 210 books a day, every day for the entire year. The easy conclusion he arrives at is that there is no way that only 300 writers could write all those books. There are a lot more than 300 people doing all that writing. Does this give a glimmer of hope to any other budding artist out there? A little surfing around the Internet and you realise there is a lot going on in the world, and I do mean a lot. And that includes running across I don't know how many official web sites of various writers who have made themselves an on-line presence to market their product.

Chapter: Writing is Hard
Smith is dispelling a myth in this essay and with tongue in cheek tells us how a fiction writer is paid to sit in a chair and make stuff up. That, in a way, sounds like an amusing take on the process and it is obvious that Smith enjoys his work and is having a good time "working". As I've said elsewhere, all of us should be so lucky to have a job that we like doing. When you "like" or "enjoy" your work, it stops being work per se, and you start having, for lack of a better word, fun. Digging a ditch, that sounds like work, but writing? Smith is having a grand old time!

Fortunately, he does point out the serious nature of getting started

Discipline is hard. Just carving out time to write is hard. Really hard, actually. Especially in the early years when the feedback loop is so negative. Simply finding time to get to the computer is hard when day job, kids, and bills get in the way. That’s hard and very hard work. The fun starts when you get to the chair with some time ahead, but getting there is hard work early on.

I've heard it said that writing is a lonely occupation. Smith is certainly right in that how can any of us continue to do anything if we have no feedback?

There are more chapters
Smith doesn't leave any rocks unturned. I scan down the list of chapters and see various topics like Self-Promotion, No Money in Writing Fiction, Writers Don't Need to Practice, Agents and Contracts, etc. I count 34 chapters or topics and since each one represents two, three or four thousand words, Smith has already a substantial amount of material. A quick calculation tells me he already has over 70,000 words, more than enough for a good sized book.

New World of Publishing
Like his Sacred Cows work, Smith has written a number of essays which he plans on putting together as a book at some point. The series, The New World of Publishing represents his take on how traditional publishing is undergoing a radical change with the arrival of "electronic publishing". It would seem that the tried and true of thumbing through the physical pages of a book is giving way to touching a screen for "Next Page".

I enjoyed Smith's joke in the introduction when he refers to being on an electronic bestseller list in 2000 and having an editor saying this was like being the best hockey player in Ecuador. The idea was that electronic publishing was insignificant.

Smith has certainly changed his mind and realises that the world is changing and changing quickly but categorically states that nobody knows where this is headed. While traditional publishing will not go away, thanks to the Internet and devices like Amazon's Kindle, authors will have alternatives to paper copy sold through the normal channels.

I don't know if Mr. Smith is aware of Amanda Hocking but I would direct anybody reading this to my blog Amanda Hocking: Indie author goes viral. This 26 year old woman has about 9 titles under her belt that she started e-publishing in April 2010 and according to reports, in January 2011 alone, she sold 450,000 copies of her titles through various electronic means including Amazon's Kindle. Obviously this is the exception to the rule but it underlines the potential of an individual author getting to market directly and by-passing a publishing house.

Dare to Be Bad
Smith's message is quite simple: It takes a lot more courage to write and mail something than it does to not write, or write and not mail. He goes on to expound on writing and pushing ahead rather than getting stuck on wanting to be perfect and possibly never getting anything finished. For seven years my fixing and polishing had gotten few stories written and finished and no sales. Mailing first drafts got me a career. “Daring to be Bad” got me a career, such as it is. “Daring to be Bad” has paid the bills for over two decades.

I have to smile at Smith talking about editors and bad writing. He says editors rarely remember the name of a bad writer so the risk one takes in mailing a manuscript is minimal. - Keep in mind Smith has also been an editor. He knows! - But mailing the manuscript is the important first step. Is this akin to the idea that you have to buy a lottery ticket in order to win the lottery? You have to mail the manuscript if you want an editor to (possibly) read it? This reminds me of my wife's favourite saying: If you throw enough Jell-O, eventually some of it will stick to the wall. An amusing metaphor but it seems that it all comes down to wanting to succeed.

In my blog Writing: James Patterson, I quote a Time article of July 2010, 10 Questions for James Patterson:

Q: What do you say to critics like author Stephen King who say you are not a great prose stylist?

A: I am not a great prose stylist. I'm a storyteller. There are thousands of people who don't like what I do. Fortunately, there are millions who do.

Not everyone can be Shakespeare, meaning a lauded writer who is held in high esteem by his peers, never mind the public. Smith says that a lot can make a living and a good one at that. Yes, writing can be art but there is nothing wrong with craft.

Final Word
Somebody pointed me to the Sacred Cows work but admittedly, I had no idea who Dean Wesley Smith was. I am now walking away quite impressed. This name may not be as well known in the eyes of the general public as a Stephen King, but let's face it, being well known does not in any way diminish the achievement of the person in question. It's a big world out there and there are a lot of things we know nothing about.

Dean Wesley Smith has been writing for a living for the past 20 years. His web site and his online collected essays offer anybody an interesting take on the process of writing and publishing with some excellent advice from somebody who has been there and done that. The voice of experience is worth its weight in gold to anybody in need of some solid advice.

Mr. Smith is a professional. He's done it; he's doing it. I am sure that unlike anybody else starting out in the game of writing, he knows exactly what he has to do to get the job done: self-knowledge, confidence, personal discipline. Technically, anybody should be able to do it, but not everybody does. I'm repeating myself but I see here in Mr. Smith what I saw with Stephen King in his book On Writing. I saw it in the writer Holly Lisle and in the indie Amanda Hocking. It may seem like a trite thing to say when one may be facing the daunting task of writing (Or doing anything for that matter!), but I somehow think that the sports company Nike managed to successfully distill the essence of the challenge in their three word slogan: Just do it!


References

Wikipedia: Dean Wesley Smith

official web site: Dean Wesley Smith

Facebook: Dean Wesley Smith

Twitter: DeanWesleySmith

Dean Wesley Smith has written the following Star Trek books

The Creative Penn - Oct 10/2010
New World of Publishing and Making Money as a Fiction Author with Dean Wesley Smith
In this interview excerpt, bestselling author of over 90 novels, Dean Wesley Smith explains the new world of publishing, a different way for authors to submit to publishing houses, and how fiction authors can make a lot of money with "the magic bakery". The full interview is available as a podcast from http://www.thecreativepenn.com/podcasts/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDLf1PEm5E4

Writing Fast Equals Writing Better by Dean Wesley Smith

my blog: NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month
my blog: NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month
my blog: November: It was a dark and stormy night...
my blog: Writing: Less is more: the drabble
my blog: James Patterson
my blog: Assembly Line Writing
my blog: On Writing by Stephen King


2011-10-18

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Monday, 17 October 2011

Book Trailers

WTH? What the heck? What the hell? WTF? Is the world a big place or have I truly lived a sheltered life? I had never seen a book trailer never mind even knowing the term meant. But with the advent of the Internet and its taming by search giant Google, my idle moments of unfettered aimlessness are no longer limited to channel surfing on my television set.

A book trailer is like a movie trailer except for a book. (God, am I a genius?) It apparently employs all the techniques of multimedia and from some of the examples I've seen, very much gives the impression of a movie trailer. Maybe this is a preview of what the movie made of the book is going to be like?

Wikipedia defines a book trailer as a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers. They are circulated on television and online in most common digital video formats.

The same article explains that the term "booktrailer" (I guess as opposed to "book trailer") is copyrighted by one Sheila Clover of Circle of Seven Productions. This company produces media advertising for literary works.

The first book trailer was made in 2002 but the expression apparently caught on in 2005 when user-generated online video uploading took off.

The results vary from trailer to trailer. In its basic form, I see a trailer can consist of a number of still pictures set to music. Text from the book or text about the book can appear on the screen or a narrator may read the text. I note that the addition of panning increases the drama of the presentation.

Just a personal FYI. The Macintosh has a terrific program for making photo slideshows. I found it an intriguing addition to showing a slide how the presentation can either move in on a slide getting closer to the centre or whatever point you want to focus on or starting in close and moving out showing more and more of the photo. This technique takes an ordinary slideshow and makes it quite eye-catching. It is this type of media presentation I have seen used in book trailers to great effect.

Obviously still photos are where most trailers start but some trailers go a step further providing animation and flash videos. I have heard tell that in some cases, a trailer may involve a full production which includes actors.

Whatever the case, the purpose is to tell a bit of the story and generate interest on the part of the readers to slap down their money for the book. And nothing like some good visuals coupled with some pertinent music to up the ante and capture out attention for whatever hopeful page-turner the publisher is hawking. One company showed pricing as inexpensive as a few hundred dollars to produce a book trailer all the way up to ten thousand dollars. Wow.

I realise now in researching this that an entire industry has sprung up around the production of book trailers. There are web sites dedicated to book trailers (vabbler.com), sites which show how to make book trailers and even awards for book trailers. Considering that a trailer is a mini-movie like a commercial is a mini-movie, I guess it's not surprising somebody would make up a prize for the best of the lot.

Example
According to the New York Times Best Sellers of October 23, 2011, I see in the category for Hardcover Fiction the number one book is Shock Wave by John Sanford.

Uploaded by PenguinGroupUSA on Sep 7, 2011
Shock Wave, John Sandford
The superstore chain PyeMart has its sights set on a Minnesota river town, but two very angry groups want to stop it: local merchants, fearing for their businesses, and environmentalists, predicting ecological disaster. The protests don't seem to be slowing the project, though, until someone decides to take matters into his own hands.

The first bomb goes off on the top floor of PyeMart's headquarters. The second one explodes at the construction site itself. The blasts are meant to inflict maximum damage--and they do. Who's behind the bombs, and how far will they go? It's Virgil Flowers's job to find out . . . before more people get killed.


Example
According to the New York Times Best Sellers of October 23, 2011, I see in the category for Combined Print and E-book Fiction the number three book is The Affair by Lee Child. This trailer is interesting in its combining of stills and live action.

Uploaded by transworldvideos on Oct 7, 2011
The Affair by Lee Child - Jack Reacher book video trailer
"This is a suicide mission, Reacher. You should have turned this down."

March 1997. A woman has her throat cut behind a bar in Carter Crossing, Mississippi. Just down the road is a big army base. Is the murderer a local guy - or is he a soldier? Jack Reacher, still a major in the military police, is sent in undercover. The county sheriff is a former U.S. Marine - and a stunningly beautiful woman. Her investigation is going nowhere. Is the Pentagon stonewalling her? Or doesn't she really want to find the killer? Set just six months before the opening of Killing Floor, The Affair marks the turning point in Reacher's military career. If he does what the army wants, will he be able to live with himself? And if he doesn't, will the army be able to live with him?


Final Word
A novel way of showing a video. Or is it a video way of showing a novel? A book trailer can present the book, hook our attention then end with the tagline, "Coming to a bookstore near you." I have to chuckle because in watching a book trailer I can almost see the movie and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if somebody writes with the idea in mind of a movie, not necessarily the book itself. It certainly is an interesting way of whipping up some enthusiasm for a publication. Coming to a bookstore near you; (possibly) starring Tom Cruise.


References

Wikipedia: Trailer (book)
Book Trailers can be acted out, full production trailers, flash videos, animation or simple still photos set to music with text conveying the story.

Circle of Seven Productions
Circle of Seven Productions (COS Productions), incorporated in Brentwood, CA., created the first Book Trailer in 2002. Previously, the publishing industry had not taken full advantage of the opportunity that video marketing affords authors and publishing houses. COS Productions continues to be the leader in book trailer production in the U.S.; winning several prestigious awards for both broadband and broadcast videos.

Circle of Seven Productions: Latest Book Trailers

Google video search: book trailer

2011-10-17

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